At the risk of finding egg of my face later on, I think I am ready to go out on a limb and state that Judd Winick is in the middle of a creative renaissance. It started quite innocuously almost a year ago on Batman, which to the surprise of many wasn’t awful (but to be completely upfront I am one of the 5 people who enjoyed Under the Hood). Then he started churning out Justice League Generation Lost which has been consistently enjoyable. However it is Lost Days which takes the cake as his best recent work.
This story is one of the most cohesive mini-series that I have read in a while. It basically puts on its head a lot of presumptions about Jason Todd’s training that many fans might have (i.e. it is Batman’s training that enables Jason to return and cause Mayhem in Gotham). No, Jason must train to break free from the rules that Batman seems to have inscribed onto his very body. As a previous issue stated “Batman never thought us how to main.” The twist, as Talia al Ghul points out, is that most of his teachers of these “dark arts” end up meeting their demise at his hands. Jason isn’t merely driven by revenge but rather his revenge is merely the outlet for sincere desire for justice.
Winick is perhaps the only writer that really has a grasp on Jason Todd and what makes him compelling. While as anyone can attest I hold Grant Morrison’s Batman on an unshakable pedestal even he failed to imbue the character with life. Winick manages to put us inside the head of this character and really understand his motivations. Jason Todd’s reasoning is very simple, if quite paradoxical; How can you really value justice if you are not even willing to sacrifice your own ethics for it? Obviously this logic cannot stand to the Dark Knight’s inscrutable moralizing however because Batman is reduced to merely an incidental figure in the story it is enough to keep this Jason compelling and,surprising, charismatic.
- I don’t like these covers at all if for no other reason that they do not capture the tone of the series, which Comicvine succinctly described as “no-nonsense realpolitik that’s evocative of a spy novel.”
- The dissonance between this kind and warm Talia vs Talia as mother of Damian is unbelievably jarring.
- Best Scene of the whole book:
Final Grade: B+